What do you do when you haven’t won a fight in over three years and your next opponent has already knocked you out twice? If you’re former UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz, you start a smear campaign claiming Chuck Liddell is an alcoholic.
“I think [Liddell] had a problem,” Ortiz told MMAJunkie.com at Monday’s “The Ultimate Fighter 11” media day. “A lot of people go through addiction. I think his deal was he was an alcoholic. He loved to party.
“When you have all the money in the world and you can do what you want, no one tells you, ‘No.’ You’re one of the baddest men on the Earth; no one tells you, ‘No.’ You can do what you want.”
Without a doubt, if any MMA fighter’s life should be compared to that of a rockstar, it would be “The Iceman’s.” During his dominating Octagon run between ’04-’06, Liddell famously celebrated each of his six knockout victories by inviting everyone to party with him at the latest Vegas hot spot.
There certainly isn’t anything wrong with kicking back a few with friends, especially to celebrate an emotional victory after months of arduous training, so you do yo thang, Chuck. However, his post-fight party promoting skills helped build his rocker persona.
In all fairness to Liddell, just because he’s spotted in the clubs doesn’t necessarily mean he’s boozing it up while there. However, it does give off certain impressions and leaves the door open for guys like Ortiz to make claims, even if they may be unfounded and outrageous.
But wait, the best part is when he professes his undying appreciation to UFC president Dana White for stepping in and making Liddell see he was heading down the wrong path.
“Thank God that Dana gave [Liddell] an intervention, and he’s sober now,” Ortiz said. “He’s been sober since November, and he looks like a different person. It’s awesome. I’m proud of him – really proud of him. A lot of people can’t do that. I kind of went through that myself, but I looked in the mirror and I realized that wasn’t the life I wanted to lead.
“I’m proud he’s found sobriety. A lot of fighters, and a lot of people in general, don’t do that. They fall off the face of the earth, and sometimes they’ll find them in a hotel, dead, or behind a wheel, dead. Thank God Chuck isn’t one of those guys. Thank God he found sobriety, and I’m proud of him – very proud of him.”
All parties, outside of Team Ortiz of course, deny that Liddell has any sort of problem with alcohol. It appears that this is Tito doing what he does best, annoy the hell out of Chucky.
The two TUF 11 coaches are rumored to face-off at UFC 115 at the GM Place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.